Gottheimer Blasts Potential New Jersey Tax Hikes in Health Care Bill

Mar 21, 2017
Press

Cuts Could Mean $4,000 State Tax Hike Per New Jersey Family; Big Boon to Moocher States

Today, on a call with New Jersey reporters, Congressman Josh Gottheimer blasted the potential New Jersey tax hikes in the health care reform bill currently being considered by the House of Representatives.

“This plan could trigger a massive state tax hike—to the tune of $4,000 per New Jersey family—while sending even more of our hard earned federal tax dollars to moocher states and increasing costs for millennials, seniors, and everyone in between,” said Congressman Josh Gottheimer. “Health care is already too expensive, and our taxes are already too high. But the bill the House is considering will only exacerbate those problems. We can’t afford it.”

His remarks as prepared for delivery are below:

Hi, thank you so much for joining me on this call.

As you all know, the House will be voting later this week on a health care bill.

As I’ve said for some time, the Affordable Care Act has some major problems, like the Cadillac Tax and the Medical Device Tax; I will work with anyone regardless of party to fix the ACA.

Give me the room number, and I’ll be there to dig in.

But the bill we have before us now, AHCA, is not the solution.

I have previously spoken out about my concerns with this bill’s impact on seniors: it would reduce the solvency of the Medicare Trust Fund, make major cuts to long term care, and allow older Americans to be charged five times more for their insurance premiums—a senior tax.

Today, I will be talking about the disastrous impact this plan would have on pocketbooks across New Jersey, not only seniors.

This bill, in its current form, is basically a major tax hike bill for New Jersey residents.

First, this plan could trigger a massive state tax hike. By expanding Medicaid under ACA, New Jersey as a state has saved $2 billion over the last four years from reducing the number of uninsured.

To keep Medicaid eligibility levels, according to a report released this morning by New Jersey Policy Perspective, our state would need to come up with $8.8 billion dollars in new revenue over the next decade. To fill the hole, that amounts to a tax hike of $4,000 for the average New Jersey family. That’s unacceptable considering how much we already pay in taxes.

Second, this bill would make our state’s dismal return on investment for our federal tax dollars even worse. As it currently stands, several states opted out of Medicaid Expansion. But by converting the program to a per-capita grant program, as the bill dictates, New Jersey would suddenly be on the hook for sending our tax dollars to those states, too.

And many of those states are already what I call “moocher states” that take far more back in benefits from the federal government than they pay in federal taxes. In other words, we in New Jersey are paying the bill for those states, and the costs will only go up.

In fact, 6 of the top 10 moocher states are states that would get an additional influx of New Jersey cash under this bill.

Third, the current plan would hit local hospital investments and workers squarely in the pocketbook.

Hackensack Hospital, for instance, our area’s largest employer, stands to lose $132 million dollars that helps them provide quality care to people who need it in our region, risking new investments in treatment and innovation. Other area hospitals like Valley and Holy Name would take a major hit, as well — and they account for more than 16,000 jobs in our District.

Hospitals in the Fifth District contribute more than $3 billion to the state and locally.

Not only will they have to scale back on their investments in cancer research and local infrastructure, but they’ll have to lay off workers.

And the major increase in uncompensated care we’ll see will lead to higher premiums for all of us, even those with employer-provided coverage.

Fourth, this bill contains a major seniors tax that allows older Americans to be charged five times more for their insurance premiums. On top of the major hits that nursing homes will take with cuts to Medicaid – cuts that could get them thrown out of nursing homes.

But seniors aren’t the only age group to be hit in the wallet by this bill.

This plan also contains a “millennial tax.” Young adults are most likely to face a lapse in their coverage while moving or changing jobs as they get their careers underway. And this bill puts in place a 30% surcharge on premiums for anyone whose coverage has lapsed, a heavy burden for young people just starting out in the world.

Health care is already too expensive and our taxes are already too high. But the bill the House is considering will only exasperate those problems. We can’t afford it.

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